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Displaying items by tag: intergenerational

Sunday, 04 December 2022 00:35

Mary wasn't alone

Mary had great faith but she was just a kid. Maybe as a teenager her naivety protected her from full understanding of what she would endure.

Luke 1:48-49 (NLT) “For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me.”

She believed the angel. Then God provided evidence to continue to build her faith.

Mary was highly favored. Luke 1: 28 (NLT) “Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

Gabriel spoke these words over Mary before it all began. Yet, look at her life from a historical point of view. Mary was the only one who knew Jesus from conception all the way to Pentecost. Mary was at His birth, childhood, and first miracle. She witnessed His ministry, crucifixion, resurrection, and was present in the upper room when the Holy Spirit empowered His followers. Reread that. Can you fathom the honor of her position? She sacrificed much but she witnessed the greatest events in history.

Not only was she visited by an angel, God prepared others to support her too. Older and wiser people walked along side her as she stepped into the position of mother of Jesus.It is another example of the importance of intergenerational relationships that empower each of us to live out our part of God's story.

Joseph – Her husband-to-be knew exactly what was happening. He loved God and loved her through it. (Matthew 1:20-24)

Elizabeth – Her cousin was empowered by the Holy Spirit to know the child Mary was carrying before Mary spoke a word. (Luke 1:41) Elizabeth, pregnant before Mary, it is believed that Mary stayed with her as little John came into the world. Her visit equipped her in her own motherhood journey.  

Simeon – The Holy Spirit guided him to the temple to meet Mary, Joseph, and Jesus as they came to present the baby to the Lord. He spoke words that confirmed Jesus was the Messiah. (Luke 2:25-35)

Anna – This prophet recognized Jesus immediately. She praised God and was filled with joy when she saw the family in the temple. (Luke 2:36-40)

Who in your life is there to support you and who are you called to support?

Mary remembered God’s promises and provision. Luke 2:19 (NLT) “but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” When times became confusing, she remembered God’s promise. This boy, her son, was the Messiah. God’s promised deliverer. His life purpose would come to pass.

She faced hopeless and helpless situations according to the world’s standards, but God saw it differently. She trusted God, although an ordinary woman, God did extraordinary things through her.  

Victor in Christ, faithful to belong, noble in character and ready now to follow His lead we will go forward into a new year.

Merry Christmas!

Published in Devotionals
Saturday, 19 November 2022 14:27

Ask This Mom: What is Truth?

Perplexed by the choice in front of her, she hesitantly expressed her concern. The din of the coffee shop almost drowned out her voice, and the cup she wrapped her hands around grew cold. We weren’t there just for the coffee that day, her face expressed the confusion she felt.

Repeated by today’s younger generation, this famous quote from Pontius Pilate feels hauntingly relevant. “What is truth?” With echoes of “false news” ringing in their ears, how can they measure God’s truth.

The Apostle John gave us a simple answer test the spirit.

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1

Confusion over truth is not new. John addressed this issue after the Gnostics introduced confusion about Jesus’ identity. The Gnostics claimed Jesus, a mere man, received God when God descended on Him at His baptism and left Him before Jesus suffered on the cross. This prompted John to encourage his readers to test the spirit.

John knew that Jesus, the Son of God, was God from conception on. This is an intricate part of our faith and one we stand on as truth. With acceptance of Jesus as our savior we receive Holy Spirit, also known as the Spirit of Truth.

The Spirit of Truth radiates out of us. It empowers us to live in this world, preventing us from to be pulled into legalism or grace without boundaries. None of us get this one hundred percent right every time. Just look at the history of the church. In hindsight we can see the errors. We need to look at each situation with humility.

Our job is to point others to Jesus, not fix their flaws. We need to recognize we don’t always get it right ourselves. I know I am flawed and can’t possibly be right in everything and neither can you. We need grace for each other, so much grace.

Our goal is to be self-aware, testing what we are learning.  Walking along side others as they are doing the same, guiding them gently and humbly into the truth.

When we are listening to others who are seeking spiritual truth, we can ask these questions so they can see it through the lens of Jesus.

  • Do they claim Jesus is God? Knowing their spiritual roots helps discern where the information is coming from. It doesn’t mean you can’t get good information from non-Christian sources; you just need to measure it accordingly.
  • How would Jesus respond to them? We see countless interactions in Scripture of Jesus response because Jesus loved people. He offered gentle guidance to those caught in sin and firm rebuke to the religious leaders who did not recognize His authority.
  • Do they reflect the character of Jesus? Do we see the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the people expressing this ideology? Does it fit with the Bible’s description of Jesus, the Word.
  • Does it line up with loving God and loving people? This is a tough one, I think we get this wrong so much of the time. We either extend too much grace or we extend judgement. That road is narrow just as Jesus described. We need to tread prayerfully forward.
  • Does it line up with Scripture? Does this information you are examining line up with the Bible. We must use Jesus’ Word, in His way, giving life.

If they are still uncertain after all these questions, then we err on the side of grace. As we walk with them through the outcomes. We ask Jesus to continue to teach us and prayerfully surrender each step to Him.

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Published in Devotionals

 

Is it okay that I question things I’ve been taught about my faith?

The short answer is yes.

Does that surprise you? I think we get confused between theology and faith; a tension between the two brings moments of confusion causing us to seek clarity.

Theology is defined as the study of God and religion. Theo means God and ology means study of, it is a pretty straightforward understanding of the word. As believers we seek knowledge to better understand who God is and how to build a relationship with Him. That knowledge, appropriately applied, develops our wisdom as to how to properly live what we know.

Scripture is clear that we are to seek after wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3 assures us that the knowledge and wisdom is in Jesus, we just have to look for it. “2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Some of theinformation presented to us can be misunderstood or misrepresented. This is why we test and search out the truth. 

Faith, although related, is based on belief in God, spiritual comprehension instead of proof. As it says in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Faith, pistis in the Greek, means a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is God.

Theology is knowledge based while faith is belief based. When we question theology, we are not to throw away faith. On the contrary, when we investigate, we are simply answering the why we believe to grow our faith.

As imperfect beings, we recognize we don’t know it all and we continue to seek wisdom and knowledge through our relationship with Jesus Christ. This builds a better understanding of who He is and who we are to become. Find a trusted friend and investigate these questions together. Accurately applying Scripture, while seeking Jesus, will help you sort out what He has for you.

Ask this Mom is a monthly post that investigates the questions that matter to you. 

Published in Devotionals